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Tunisia Lockdown Brings Rise in Domestic Violence

Tunisia Lockdown Brings Rise in Domestic Violence

Monday, 30 March, 2020 - 07:00
Protesters shout slogans during a march, demanding equal inheritance rights for women, in Tunis, Tunisia March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

The number of abused women has increased five folds during the quarantine imposed by the Tunisian authorities to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, Minister of Women, Childhood and Family Affairs Asma al-Suhairi said Sunday.

Between March 23 and 27 a hotline set up for domestic violence witnessed a hike in reported abuse of women.

Suhairi expressed concern that the violence rate would increase if the pandemic-related movement restrictions continue.

Tunisia has since the 1950s enacted laws on the empowerment of women, considered the most advanced in the Arab world. However, the laws are not fully enforced in a country where traditions outweigh laws, and a lot of women don’t report violence to safeguard their reputation.

In 2017, Tunisia passed a firmer law to combat violence against women. It has also dedicated a small number of shelters for domestic abuse victims.

The state has established eight such shelters across the country, Suhairi said.

The minister told the Tunisian press agency that the 2017 law will be enforced in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. The public prosecution may force the aggressor out of the house for the benefit of the woman and her children.

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